Have you ever looked up a word in the dictionary and found some word you never heard of before? It makes you curious to read further. Unless you occasionally browse in your dictionary you will never know how much information or variety of information you can find there. I was looking up steroids and came across snuggle, and then snuggery. Did you know there was such a word? This is an old British word and it means a snug or comfortable place or room. I bet you have one and didn't know it was a snuggery.

When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, I wore a snow suit to walk to school in the winter. You know what snowbirds or snowshoes are but the word snow today doesn't just mean crystalline flakes of frozen water vapor. It has gained a number of new meanings in today's culture. Today, when you say snow you could mean heroine or cocaine or fluctuating spots on your television screen. Or you could be speaking of Charles Percy Snow of Leicester, England, a novelist and physicist.

I did find the word steroid. The explanation in the dictionary doesn't go very far. It says it is a large number of different compounds that have a significant effect on the body's systems, both good and bad.

Apparently there is no such word as supersize. There are already good words in the dictionary that our fast food giants could have used. There is superclass, supercolossal, superduper and supergiant. I like supercolossal myself. It means extremely great, large, impressive. Imagine if you are a hungry trucker, sitting all day, behind the wheel of a semi wheeling down the highway, thinking about your next truck stop. You see a sign advertising a supercolossal burger with a picture of it dripping juice with an onion, a pickle, a slice of tomato and lettuce and ketchup.

If you have ever been in a mob scene for a movie with a nonspeaking part, you were a supernumerary. And you thought you were just an extra.

This brings us in the dictionary to other "sup" words. Ronald Reagan did not make up the word supplyside. Supplyside means, according to the dictionary, an economic theory that an increase in money for investment, as supplied by lowering taxes, will increase productivity.

In case you are wondering, supercalifragilisticexpialadocious is not in the dictionary but supralapsarianism is. It's a religious belief about God's plan for salvation held by Calvinists.

Did you know that telegenic means you look good on television?

Words are fun. Did you know that if you are a mum, you are a flower, a mother or a strong German beer. I am one of those.

Some years ago, I found an old dusty copy of “Bartletts Familiar Quotations” in the library at the Daily Commercial. In reading through its dusty yellow pages, I found some interesting quotes.

When words are put together we have quotes like, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” from Benjamin Franklin.

Did you ever wonder where the words “God helps those that help themselves” came from? It appeared in Poor Richards Almanac in 1757.

It was our poet laureate, Herbert Frost who said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” He is also responsible for: “Two roads diverged into the wood and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Poets and philosophers have used words to express what is in men's hearts. Many of us write poetry but can not truthfully call ourselves poets until those who read what we write feel in themselves that our words are their own.

“Dust thou love life? Then do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.” This old Franklin saying becomes more important the older I get.

Open your dictionary with an inquisitive little child on your lap and see what fun you can have looking up interesting words.

This was a hoped-for diversion from today's hateful rhetoric.

 

Nina Gilfert is a columnist for the Daily Commercial. Email her at ngporch@gmail.com.